The Prime Minister said ‘most people’ could see that channel smuggling gangs ‘need to be stopped’ – and asked if the Prince of Wales was ‘wrong’, replying: ‘I replied that… it’s the government’s job to stop people breaking the law
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Boris Johnson hit back today after claims Prince Charles branded his asylum plan in Rwanda “appalling”.
The Prime Minister initially dodged an answer as to whether the Prince of Wales was “wrong” in alleged private comments about the policy of forcing asylum seekers on a 5,000-mile charter flight.
But he specifically said “most people” could see that criminal gangs “need to be stopped”.
And asked head-on one last time if the Prince of Wales was wrong, then replied: “I answered that in the sense that I think it’s the government’s job to stop people breaking the law , and to support people who are doing the right thing.
“We do that.”
Mr Johnson, who was himself fined for breaking Covid laws two months ago, was questioned as lawyers and activists launched a fresh wave of legal challenges to deportation flights to Rwanda.
It’s as if an Interior Ministry flight to Rwanda tomorrow will only pick up just under 10 asylum seekers – if it takes off at all.
POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
The number of people supposed to be on the charter plane is believed to have dwindled dramatically following a spate of individual legal challenges.
It was initially reported that 130 people could be on the plane. But by last night that had dwindled to just over 10, a government source told the Mirror. The source predicted the number would be less than 10 by the time of the next update this morning.
Individual legal challenges relate to human rights and issues such as modern slavery. Separately, refugee and migrant advocates will today file an appeals court to block tomorrow’s first flight entirely – until a full legal hearing can take place.
Under the directive, migrants who have arrived “illegally” in inflatable boats or refrigerated trucks since January 1 will be detained and then forced onto charter flights used to deport foreign criminals.
You will be “transported” almost 5,000 miles to Rwanda on a one-way ticket.
Once there, they are denied the right to seek asylum in Britain, instead having to seek sanctuary from the East African nation.
Reports emerged over the weekend that Prince Charles had privately branded the policy “appalling” and said he was “beyond disappointed” by it.
Clarence House did not confirm or deny his statements, insisting he “remains politically neutral”.
Mr Johnson was questioned by LBC’s Nick Ferrari while visiting a farm in Cornwall.
The radio host told the Prime Minister: “Prince Charles says the plan is appalling. Archbishop of Canterbury says he is against God’s judgement. How come you know better than Prince Charles and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Prime Minister?”
Mr Johnson – who previously took a swipe at the Archbishop – said: “Most people can see that the criminal gangs… need to be stopped. This model needs to be frustrated.”
To clarify that he said the prince was wrong, he replied: “Let me put it this way, Nick. What I don’t think we should support is continued activity by criminal gangs…
“What it does is it undermines everyone who comes here legally and it undermines people who support immigration and want people to come here legally and be integrated property.
“Here on this farm, for example, they are supported by workers who come from all over the world, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, whatever, but they come here legally. You’re doing it right. They are not controlled by criminal gangs. And that’s what we want to see. Good.”
Asked again later in the interview if Prince Charles was wrong, he replied: “I answered that in the sense that I think it’s the government’s job to stop people from breaking the law and to support people who do the right thing.
“We do that.”
POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
The Prime Minister did not rule out sending tomorrow’s flight, even if only one person is sitting on it. He replied, “I think it’s very important that the criminal gangs who are risking people’s lives in the canal understand that their business model is being broken by this government.”
He insisted he had “the utmost respect for the legal profession” but claimed “very active lawyers” would stop moves.
The Prime Minister added: “We have always said that we knew this policy would attract the attacks of those who want a completely open approach to immigration.”
Campaign group Care4Calais tweeted: “Twenty people have had their Rwanda tickets canceled but 11 still have live tickets for tomorrow. Including four Iranians, two Iraqis, two Albanians and one Syrian.
“We pray that the courts will act today to stop this cruel and barbaric plan.”
Priti Patel could tear up the Tories’ own modern slavery laws to allow more deportation flights to Rwanda in the future.
Agency Anadolu via Getty Images)
According to the Mail on Sunday, the Home Secretary will appoint an independent auditor of the system put in place by her predecessor Theresa May.
When she launched the Modern Slavery Act in 2015, Ms May said it was “the great human rights issue of our time,” adding: “We will make it a national and international mission to rid our world of this barbaric evil.” .”
But Ms Patel is said to be furious that asylum seekers she wants to force into Rwanda under a new scheme are using it to block their exit.
A Whitehall source told the Mail on Sunday: “Child rapists, people posing a national security threat and illegal migrants who have traveled to the UK from safe countries have requested modern slavery referrals which prevent their deportation or deportation and have delayed.
“It is imperative that this system be fixed quickly and definitively.”
A hard-hitting advertising campaign will launch later this week, although Prince Charles has reportedly privately described the program as “appalling”.
It is believed to contain a photo of a dinghy approaching the white cliffs of Dover with the words: “Arrive in the UK illegally and you could leave for Rwanda.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/breaking-boris-johnson-hits-back-27215772 Boris Johnson hits back at Prince Charles' alleged comments on 'appalling' Rwanda plan